Montreal is full of secrets and interesting history. I’m a strong believer that walking tours are the best way to start any trip They introduce you to the city, teach you the history, and the guides share amazing tips and tricks that make your whole visit better. I’ve been on guiding walking tours in almost every city that I’ve travelled to! With a city like Montreal, there are so many little details to discover.

Montreal is a walkable, bike-able, and incredibly safe city if you want to explore on your own. However, if you love discovering city secrets and hearing stories that you won’t hear anywhere else, you a guided tour of Old Montreal is the way to go. My visit to Montreal was 3 days, and a walking tour was the first I did!

Reasons to go on an Old Montreal Walking Tour

Discover Hidden Gems

I went on a two part walking tour of Old Montreal. East side, and West side, with Guidatour. The tour went through some main areas, and to a few spots that I never would have found wandering on my own. Take walking tours early in a trip. Guides have great suggestions! Ours pointed out places with great views, and things to do on our visit.

My favourite discovery was the Berlin Wall. Germany has given out pieces of the Berlin Wall to ‘free’ (immigration welcome, embracing diversity, equal rights, etc.) cities around the world, including Montreal 25 years ago. I definitely wasn’t expecting to see a Berlin Wall piece on this trip!

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Learn Montreal History That Isn’t In the Books

Cities are full of stories, beyond what the plaques and websites tell you. Many pivotal moments in Canada‘s history took place in Montreal. The city is older than the country by over 200 years, so this includes very formative events.

There’s always a risk of spoiling the fun when you write a blog, so instead of telling you the best stories from the tour, here are a few questions about Old Montreal that you didn’t know you could ask!

  • What’s actually in the fish crates?
  • What brilliant business strategy did the women who worked in the hospitals come up with?
  • Why are so many buildings made with Scottish brick?
  • Who seriously thought that introducing a beaver family to the Old Port of Montreal would result in anything other than 4 out of 8 nearby trees being taken down for dam building purposes by the next morning?
  • What are the statues talking about?

Get Access to Other Historical Sites

Tours often have arrangements with local companies, or skip-the-line access to different places. I’ve been on a few tours around the world with perks like this.

In Montreal, we got to skip the line for a quick walk through of the Notre Dame Basilica, and our tour tickets gave us free entry for the rest of the day. In addition, the tickets served as 50% off coupons for Pointe-à-Callièr. I’ve been to Pointe-à-Callièr on previous visits to Montreal, and loved it. It’s a historical and archeological museum, and would make a perfect day when combined with a walking tour. These advantages are specific to the tour that I went on!

Old Montreal Walking Tour Info

I went on the Old Montreal East and Old Montreal West tours with Guidatour, which you can book on Viator. Take the East and West Old Montreal Tours separately, or go on both as a combined tour with a one hour lunch break in between.

The guide was fantastic and the tour organization was great! I loved that there were multiple guides at the meeting point, because it meant nice small groups. Walking tours are, in my opinion, the best way to start a trip, so book it for right near the beginning. I also went on a Food Tour in Montreal, super fun! You might also enjoy a morning at the Montreal Biodome. If you enjoy walking tours, give that a look too. 

It was a great way to spend an afternoon, and to get to know Montreal!

Have you been to Montreal, and did you take a walking tour while there? Let me know in the comments below!
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Opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. Thanks to Guidatour for having me!

14 Replies to “Why You Need To Take a Historical Walking Tour of Old Montreal”

  1. I agree that a walking tour is one of the best options in exploring and learning about a place, especially with a local tour guide. Like you said, it allows us to discover things that aren’t in the guidebooks. I would love to try this too when I visit Old Montreal.

  2. I love old Montreal and the chic European restaurants which are dotted around the place. Cant wait to get there again next summer 🙂

    1. We did the same thing for part of our visit! It’s a nice place to wander and cycle. The tour gave us lots of spots to revisit, too.

  3. Gorgeous place for a photography stroll. 🙂 I haven’t been to Montreal yet but hoping to add it on when I attend a conference in Quebec City in the spring.

    1. What conference is that? I’ll be in Quebec City for a conference next spring too!

  4. I love to walk around new towns and cities and a guided tour always makes the first visit more interesting , as you get to discover things you would never have found by yourself. I like the way you wrote about the tour but didn’t give out any spoilers 🙂

    1. Thanks, that’s always the tricky part! I have to reign myself in so that I don’t share all the cool stuff… it would be like giving away the ending of Game of Thrones if I spoiled everything 😮 totally agree, walking tours always on the first day! Really helps you get oriented.

  5. A piece of the Berlin wall! Neat! I think walking tours are worth every cent as you learn so much from the guides. I will keep this in mind when I make it that way. Thanks!

  6. I love taking walking tours like this. It’s such a great way to see the city and learn about its history at the same time. This one looks really interesting and you got some great photos!

  7. I agree with you that these walking tours are a great introduction to the city. Well, ONLY if they are done by locals! 😉 Now I am curious to know what are those 3 women talking about!!

  8. Walking around a place gives a truly immersive experience. You get close to the place and its people too. We love walking tours for the same, and as you mention there are many perks too in the form of skip-the-line access and coming across unknown gems.

  9. I love walking tours and I’d definitley do one in a place like Montreal! I’ve wanted to visit there for two decades but have never quite made it over to Canada yet, but it looks so charming! I often try join a walking tour in a new place.

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